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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    July 28, 2011
    5:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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our nation's great problems. we can respectfully disagree as long as we never forget to respect each other. madam president, as difficult as the next few days and weeks and months will be, i believe we, the president and this esteemed congress have the opportunity to make this one of our finest hours. we have within our hands the opportunity to prove to the naysayers and the doubters that the government of the people is as great as the people with which it serves. i for one am willing to do whatever i possibly can, whatever is asked of me. i will work hard every day across the aisle until we have a long-term solution to our debt crisis. i know that no senator or member of congress can do this alone, but together, putting our politics aside, we can do this. and for the sake of this great nation, our children, and the state i love, west virginia and
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this wonderful country of ours, the united states of america, i truly hope that we do. thank you, mr. president, and i notices the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorumming suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: at least two times in the last couple months i've come to the floor to tell my colleagues about some work i'm doing on an investigation of waste, fraud, and abuse in the defense department and primarily to focus on the work of the inspector general's office in regard to how they do audits. soy come to the floor today -- so i come to the floor today to
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renew my call for better audit reports. as a senator dedicated to watchdogging the taxpayers' money, audits are a primary instrument in my toolbox. they're like a hammer and a wrench. they're the tools of the trade. but like other members of congress conducting oversight, i can't do audits. we don't have staff for that, so we must rely on inspectors general of the various departments to do the independent audits of the work of those departments. so today i speak about the defense department inspector general. the audit should be the inspector general's primary weapon for rooting out fraud, waste, and theft. audits should be the tip of their spear, and that spear should have a very sharp point. the mere possibility of audit
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should have the people that commit fraud quaking in their boots, but that's not the way it is. at least not at the defense department. the audit weapon belonging to the defense department's inspector general is not as effective as it should be. this problem is not entirely of the inspector general's own doing. the broken defense department accounting system is also to blame. it is incapable of generating accurate and complete finance and accounting data. when the books are in shambles, as they are, then there are no audit trails to follow. and following the money is how you get to the bottom of things when it comes to waste, fraud, and abuse and mismanagement. and, of course, that's what the auditor's job -- that makes the auditor's job doubly difficult.
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society auditors need to adjust -- so the auditors need to adjust the auditing strategy to meet the challenge if there's not a very good financial management system within the defense department. as a watchdog, degraded audit capabilities give me serious heartburn. it puts the taxpayers' money in harm's way. when you have unreliable accounting data coupled with ineffective auditing, theft and waste can thrive undetected. those concerns, mr. president, are the driving force behind my ongoing audit oversight review. starting in january 2009, i began receiving anonymous letters from whistle-blowers. they alleged gross mismanagement in the audit office. in response, my staff initiated an in-depth oversight review. it focused on audit reporting by
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that inspector general's office. on september 7, 2010, i issued my first report. it evaluated 113 audit reports issued in fiscal year 2009. that study determined that those audits, which cost the taxpayers about $100 million, were not on target. i offered 12 recommendations for getting the audit process back on track. inspector general heddell responded to my report in a very positive and constructive way. he promised to -- quote -- "transform the audit organization" -- end of quote. the newly appointed deputy for auditing, mr. dan blair, produced a road map pointing the way forward. he, too, promised reform and transformation and the creation of a world-class -- quote,
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unquote -- "world class organization." all of this of course was music to my ears. all the signals were very encouraging. but the big question before us now is this: when will the promised reforms begin to pop up on the radar screen? and that radar screen is our further reading of additional audits, as they come out this fiscal year and into the future. when will we see sustained improvement in audit quality? to establish a solid baseline for assessing the highly touted transformation plan, my staff took another snapshot of recent audits. my latest oversight review is best characterized as a report card and it was issued on june 1 this year. each of the 113 unclassified
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reports published in fiscal year 2010 were reviewed, evaluated, and graded. after each report was graded, all the scores for each report on each rating category were added up and averaged. this created a composite score for each of the 113 reports. although 15 top-quality audits are highlighted in the report card, the overall score for all 113 was d-. those low, i know. maybe the score should have been a little higher. obviously a grading system isn't perfect. it may need some fine-tuning and we're working on that. but i still believe it provides a rough measure of audit quality. clearly none of the 2010 reports reflected any reforms that inspector general heddell put in
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place in december 2010 because all those reports were published three months before the reforms went in to place before october 1, 2010. that was a good three months before those reforms were approved. shortly after my report card was issued, inspector general heddell pounced on them. he objected to the low score. he complained that it did not adequately reflect the $4.2 billion in what he calls "achieved monetary benefits" -- end of quote -- identified in the 2010 audits. so, to address mr. heddell's concerns, i had my staff ask the audit office to prepare an information paper on the reported savings. that document was provided to me on june 20.
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i call it a crosswalk. it takes me to the exact page in each report where savings are discussed and identified. this document lists $4.4 billion in -- quote -- "identified potential monetary benefits" -- end of quote -- and $4.2 billion in -- quote, unquote -- "collections." these alleged savings were uncovered in 19 reports, including one classified report that we didn't look at. after reviewing the crosswalk, i concluded that inspector general heddell had a legitimate gripe about the report card. the report card should have included a section on savings. the first time around we did not give sufficient credit for those accomplishments. as a practical matter, we gave those reports only partial credit for pinpointing waste. i say "partial credit" because
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six of those reports were given top scores in my report card so they did get some credit, just not enough credit. in order to fully assess mr. heddell's complaints, i directed my staff to reassess the scoring process for all 18 unclassified audits. in rescoring the reports, we asked ourselves key questions like, was the audit objective aligned with the inspector general's core mission? did contract audits connect all the dots in the cycle of transactions? did they match contract requirements with payments? did the audits answer the key oversight question, which question is: did the government receive what it ordered at an agreed-upon price and schedule? did the audit verify the exact dollar amount of alleged fraud and waste using primary source payment records? and i don't have time to go into
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this, but the use of primary source payment records is very, very important if you're going to follow the money, and following the money is whether you determine whether there's fraud, waste and abuse. another point that we ask our key questions ask: were the recommendations tough and appropriate? did they recommend accountability for waste and mismanagement? did they propose workable remedies for recovering improper payments? how quickly were the audits completed? the answers to these questions take us right to the heart and the soul of an audit, any audit in any department. therethey are a good yardstick r measuring audit quality. this is my bottom line: were the audits hard-hitting,
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down-in-the-trenches audits that produced results or were they softball audits with no redeeming value? after completing the review, my staff upped the overall score of those 18 reports from a d-plus to a solid c. excellence is several -- in several reporting categories pushed the score up as follows: all reports were highly relevant and were aligned with the core mission. they detected and reported $4 billion in waste. most reports offered reasonable recommendations for recovering unauthorized payments. poor peformance in other categories pulled scores down as follows: most reports did not verify exact dollar amounts of waste, using primary-source payment reports. and i want to emphasize again the necessity of using
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primary-source pay records. follow the money. most dollar amounts for alleged savings were taken from untested army budget documents. most did not offer meaningful recommendations for holding responsible officials accountable for waste and mismanagement. and, of course, in government if people aren't held responsible for what they do and accountable for what they do, then of course you don't see change in culture. so, accountability and responsibility and holding people responsible is very, very important if you're going to bring changes. and then lastly i'd say most reports were old and stale, having taken far too long to complete. and i want to point this out by saying the single biggest factor that keeps dragging the scores down into the pits is timeliness or the lack of it. in most cases the lack of it.
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the audit office continues to publish old, stale reports. of these 18 reports that we reviewed and i'm reporting to you on, they took an average of 17 months to complete. eight took a total of 168 months to complete. and none of these numbers includes the four to six months that it takes to get an audit started. so, we're really looking at a minimum of two years to complete top-quality audits. under my scoring system, audits completed in six months or less earn a grade "a." those completed in 12 months earn a "c." those that take more than 15 months get an "f." these 18 reports, of course, as you can see from my comments, were over the top, so they earned a grade of "f" for taking so long to finish. i've said this before and want to say it again, the power of
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top-quality audit work is greatly diminished by stale information. out-of-date audits have little impact. with the passage of time, records disappear, particularly financial records, because following the money is a very important part of good auditing. people retire and move on. money cannot be recovered. and no one can be held accountable, and without people being held accountable, you don't change the culture of organizations. the new deputy for auditing, mr. pwhra*eu, is part of the -- mr. blair is part of the problem. he has not set goals for auditing completion time. goals need to be established. i'd like to summarize for you. in my summarization i'd point out the $4 billion that was saved, that was potential waste and was saved.
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these 18 reports clearly put the spotlight on $4 billion of potential waste. the auditors detected it. they reported it. they did exactly what they're supposed to do. that's a major accomplishment worthy of recognition and praise. so they ferreted out waste. they presumably saved the money. but what happened to the $4 billion? busting $4 billion in waste did not produce $4 billion in savings. the savings touted by inspector general heddell were lost in a sense, and then there's a technical lingo around government: the money got reprogrammed. in plain english, that means it got put to better use but not necessarily saved. as seen through the eyes of this skeptical watchdog, all the loose change got scooped up and
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shuttled out the back door and into the jaws of the pentagon spending machine on 0 some other program. that machine is known to have an insatiable appetite for money. the disappearance of the savings is part semantics. the word "waste" is not in the audit lexicon. sprinkling waste with perfume and calling it savings does not make it saving. perhaps if the auditors started calling it what it really is, waste, it might be easier to reach the promised land. but they never got there. 99.9% of the $4 billion got spent. only in government could you spend all the money and still claim saving. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president -- i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, later today we'll get a chance to vote on a, another chance i should say to raise the debt limit. my understanding is that the house of representatives has delayed the time at which they're going to vote on their plan, the so-called boehner plan. but at some point i suspect that vote will move forward, and we will end up receiving that legislation from the house of representatives and we'll have an opportunity here to act on that as well. it will be the second bill we'll
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vote on here in the united states senate that will raise the debt limit. the first one was the cut, cap, and balance plan first approved by the house before being sent to the senate over a week ago. this was a three-pronged approach that would have required a down payment on our deficits by immediately cutting spending. it would have put us on a path to reform entitlements and cut spending over the medium term by putting a cap on spending as a percentage of our economy. and finally, it would have made sure that we don't keep adding to our debt by approving a debt limit increase after a balanced budget amendment to our constitution was passed by congress. this was the republicans' first choice as to how to deal with this crisis. unfortunately, senate democrats killed this commonsense bill which had the support according to a cnn poll of 66% of americans. and so we didn't have an opportunity to debate it, offer amendments or get an up-or-down vote on that legislation. so in the interest of solving
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the problem before us, it was recognized that that would probably -- we would have to find another approach. there has been a lot of observations made by the media and others that somehow the republicans need to compromise more in this situation, and my only question would be, mr. president, is compromise with who? with themselves? because they are the only ones out there that have put forward a plan. and, in fact, this current proposal that will come from the house of representatives actually is a compromise. the spending reductions in that proposal are two-thirds of those that were proposed in the house budget that was passed by the house of representatives earlier this year, and so it still addresses the fundamental problem, and speaker boehner came up with a new plan that would cut spending by by $915 billion and create a process to reduce the deficit by by $1.8 trillion on top of that. now, this isn't a perfect plan, and like i said, it's not -- certainly not our first choice,
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but it's a plan that cuts spending more than it increases the debt limit, and it does it without raising taxes on job creators. in a little while, the boehner plan will hopefully join the cut, cap and balance plan as the only plans which have passed a body of congress. senate democrats don't have a plan to cut spending more than they raise the debt limit. senate democrats don't have a plan that can pass a single house of congress. of course, this is more than the white house can say because the white house doesn't have a plan, period. so when the boehner plan comes up for a vote here in the united states senate, hopefully sometime later this evening, i would encourage my colleagues from across the aisle to support this measure. they have been speaking constantly about the need to raise the debt limit and here is their chance to do so. all they have to do is vote for this bill and send it to the president for his signature and we can put this issue to rest for the time being, and that puts a pathway in place for us
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to get, as i said before, to a debate about entitlement reform several months down the road. now, i understand that there are some concerns among my colleagues on the other side about how long it will be before we would need to increase the debt limit again, but if you look at the past 20 years or so, 72% of the time our debt limit increases have been for less than a year. so this increase is hardly out of the normal time range. if you think about it, almost 75% of the times, almost 3/4 of the time we have raised the debt limit in this country, we have done it for less than a year. what we are talking about here would be something that would take us into next year, at which point we would have to have another vote on the debt limit as we -- as we come to a conclusion about the entitlement reform component or element of this particular legislation. so this increase, as i said, isn't out of the normal time range. markets are not going to care about how long we increase the debt limit for. they simply care, mr. president,
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that we don't breach the debt limit and more importantly over the long term that we lay out a long-term plan to cut the debt. many of us have got up here on the floor of the senate in the past, mr. president, and indicated that the real crisis, the real issue before our country right now is not the debt limit, it is the debt, it is the fact that we were borrowing literally 40 cents out of every dollar that we spend here in washington, d.c., and we continue to pile up and accumulate massive amounts of debt that get passed on to future generations and put in great peril the economy of our country and our ability to create jobs. so a longer term increase isn't needed to calm the markets, but what this bill doesn't do is it raises the debt limit -- it doesn't raise the debt limit past the elections, and i think that's where the real rub comes in, mr. president, because the president has made it very clear, as have some of my colleagues, that this is one of their major concerns. they want to have a debt limit
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increase that gets us past the 2012 election. that is a political concern. it is not an economic concern. but today it's arisen that these concerns are more than political. they are personal. you see, the white house is concerned that this would require congress to approve another debt limit increase sometime in january, which they have complained would ruin their christmas vacation plans. now, i certainly don't want to ruin the president or anyone else's christmas vacation plans, mr. president, but i think it is a bit more important that we prevent our country from adding adding $9.5 trillion to the debt held by the public as the president's budget would do. i think it's a bit more important that we prevent our country from being forced to implement severe austerity programs like they have had to do in europe because of their inability to constrain spending. and i think it's a bit more important, mr. president, that we reform entitlements so that these important programs are
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around for our children and grandchildren. and finally, i think it's a bit more important that we leave our country in better shape for our children than the one that we received. this has been the american ethic. each generation has sacrificed so the next generation could have a better quality of life. today we risk turning that tradition on its head. if we continue to run up debts and deficits like those proposed, our children and grandchildren will have an astounding burden to pay off to our country's creditors. we don't have to leave them this burden. we proposed, as i said, the cut, cap and balance plan which would make great strides in reducing this debt burden, and we'll have hopefully later today -- if not today, perhaps sometime tomorrow in front of us the boehner plan which will make significant down payment on these burdens. and so, mr. president, what i would simply say is that we have consistently now put before this senate different plans that we
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have had a chance -- we'll have a chance to vote on. we voted on the cut, cap and balance plan. unfortunately, it was a tabling motion, it was a procedural motion, it wasn't an up-or-down vote because the leader didn't want us to get on that legislation and have an opportunity to debate it and amend it and ultimately vote on it, but we did have a vote on a tabling motion. hopefully we will get a vote on the boehner plan, which as i said hopefully will be in front of us in the not-too-distant future. but my point very simply, mr. president, is that the -- there just hasn't been any effort put forward by our colleagues on the other side to, one, put forward a budget which we know now has been 820 days since the last time the senate acted on a budget. you have to go back to april 29 of 2009. that was the last time that the united states senate voted on a budget. it starts there. it starts there. that's where we set our priorities. that's where we determine how we're going to spend the people's tax dollars. so we haven't had a budget. now, the house of representatives passed a budget.
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they did it on schedule. they did it on time. there as far as i know are no plans here to move a budget any time in the future. and then we have the cut, cap and balance plan that passed the house of representatives, which was an attempt to deal with this debt limit increase but do it in a way that forces us to focus on the real issue, which is spending reductions, spending reforms, puts in place a pathway to get a result on entitlement reform, forces a vote on a balanced budget amendment which many of us think is a priority if we're going to get long-term spending under control, and then hopefully later today we're going to get a vote on the boehner plan which will come over from the house of representatives, which is yet another attempt to get the debt limit increased but do it in a way that actually -- that actually makes a dent in the long-term challenge facing this country, which again is not the debt limit, it is the debt. that is the problem, mr. president. that is fundamentally what we have to deal with, and it is fundamentally a spending problem. much has been made about a
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balanced approach. well, what did the other side mean when they say balanced? usually it means we're going to take more of your money and spend it on more government. now, many of us would support tax reform that would close tax loopholes, broaden the base if you could lower the rates at the same time. i happen to believe that's important if we're going to get the economy growing again and creating jobs. i think you would see tremendous economic growth as a result of tax reform. but if you're talking about raising taxes to pay for even more government, that is precisely the wrong approach. that is why we are in the mess that we are in today, because we spend more than we take in. we have been doing it year over year. we have got to learn to live within our means and to quit spending money that we don't have. so many states have constitutional amendments in their stiewgz that enable them and force them and require them to do this every single year. it is time that our federal government started operating in a way that makes fiscal sense. i think the american people understand very clearly what this is about. this is about spending, it's about getting washington to live
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within its means, to quit borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar that it spends, and to put this country on a path fiscally that will ensure that we don't bankrupt the country for future generations and that we get our economy back in a place where it can start growing and creating the jobs we need to get people in this country back to work. so, mr. president, i -- i hope that my colleagues -- i see the senator from utah is here. i expect he will have some remarks about this subject. there were many of us on this side, i know, who are anxious to vote and certainly are doing everything that we can to facilitate this process where we deal with the crisis before us next week, but importantly do it in a way that addresses the fundamental issue here, which is not the debt limit, it is the debt. it is time that washington started living within its means, started to make sure that we have got a pathway in place for not only cutting spending today but dealing with the long-term issue by putting a balanced
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budget amendment in our constitution. so i hope my colleagues will join us in this legislation that will come before us sometime, we hope, later today, and it would be yet another attempt to address this issue. i just -- i really implore my colleagues here. i think we're going to get most of the republicans to vote for this. i hope there are some on the other side who would join us in this endeavor. it's too important to the future of the country not to. i yield the floor. mr. hatch: madam president mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah is recognized. mr. hatch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to finish my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, before turning to the issue of the moment, i want to thank my dear friend for his good remarks here on the floor of the senate. he's a great leader, he's a great human being, and he certainly has outlined i think in a fair way some of the problems and some of the solutions that we might have here on the floor. but before turning to the issue of the moment, the need to restore the nation's fiscal stability by reducing our
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deficits and debt, i want to return to a matter that i discussed on the floor yesterday, and that is the f.a.a. reauthorization bill. now, i must respond to some of the comments made by two of my colleagues earlier today regarding one of the major sticking points in our efforts to pass the f.a.a. reauthorization bill. their arguments are, to put it quite simply, fallacious and cannot go unanswered. as you might expect, these comments were regarding the provision in the house bill affecting the way votes are counted in union elections in the airline industry. my colleagues, the senior senator from west virginia and the junior senator from iowa, characterized the house's actions as some sort of radical endeavor, a change that lacks justification or common sense. in fact, the senator from west virginia even argued that the house's provision would -- quote -- "undo 75 years of labor law." unquote. these were his exact words. mr. president, nothing could be further from the truth.
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in fact, the claim is so far from being accurate, i simply have to assume that my good friend senator rockefeller simply misspoke. i know that this is the line that the labor unions and the administration are peddling, but here's the truth. the house of representatives or senate republicans are not trying to undo 75 years of labor law. it is the national mediation board or n.m.b., i'll call it, that has already done so in a highly partisan fashion. it is the n.m.b., controlled by pro-union appointees of president obama, that in a partisan way and unilaterally undid 75 years of labor law and put their finger on the scale for the unions that bankroll democratic political campaigns. now, i know what i'm talking about. i won the american jurisprudence prize for labor law and have led almost every labor fight on the floor for our side for the last 35 years. house and senate republicans are only trying to restore long-lasting labor law following
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its highly partisan corruption by the national mediation board. this is not opinion. this is fact. put the talking points and revisionist history aside, this is what you have. a highly partisan n.m.b. changing 75 years of settled law , settled labor law, by the way, to benefit the democrats' political allies. for 75 years, n.m.b. supervised elections required that the union receive the votes of a majority of the entire work force before it can be certified. that's been the law. there's good reason for it. this wasn't just a mathematical trick to disadvantaged unions, as my colleagues have argued. it's just plain common sense. let's suppose, for example, that only 50% of a proposed bargaining unit votes in a union election and the union wins by a very slim majority of just the votes cast. in that case, a union representative would be certified with only the
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demonstrated support of 1/4 of the bargaining unit. that's what would happen if we follow the language that the n.m.b. fallaciously put into their ruling. 1/4 of a work force could vote to certify a union and bind every other co-worker to have to live with that decision. apparently a commitment to democratic and true majority rule only matters to the left when it suits them. what's going on in this superintendent is outrageous, not just at the national mediation board but the nlrb as well. democrat radicals, very brilliant labor lawyers who don't give a darn about what the law is are now starting to change the laws by regulatory fiat. if we allow that to happen, even people who are for what they want to do should not allow that to happen.
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apparently a commitment to democratic and true majority rule only matters when it suits certain people's politics. the senator from iowa compared it to senate and school board elections suggesting only the majority of those voting is necessary to prevail. this is a misguided comparison. first, union elections are not a choice among competing representatives. they are instead held to determine whether the workers want to be represented at all. even setting that aside, how many school boards are going to be empowered to make decisions that affect every hour of every day an employee goes to work? how many senators are elected to serve a small, narrowly defined group of constituents? and in the end if your vote is not counted in a senate or school board election, you'll get another chance to vote just a few years down the line. employees voting in these union elections have no such options. that's why the law has been
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completely different from what my two friends and colleagues have said here on the floor. requiring the support of a majority of the whole unit before certifying a union representative only makes common sense. this is why, mr. president, the procedure the n.m.b. used for these elections went you know changed for 75 years. boards appointed by democratic presidents roosevelt, truman, johnson, carter and clinton all agreed with that process. that the house bill is only attempting to restore. in fact, the n.m.b. appointed by president carter unanimously ruled that it did not have authority to administratively change the form of the n.m.b.'s ballot use in representation elections and such a change if appropriate can only be made by congress. that just makes sense. yet today we have an administration bent on greasing the rails in favor of the unions and a democratic senate all too
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willing to go along with it. they are so willing, mr. president, that they have opted to stall passage of the f.a.a. reauthorization just to prevent congress from restoring a system that served the nation and the airline industry well for decades. this is another example of the administration sheik its true colors. rather than provide certainty to travelers, the transportation industry and airports, they are holding up a long-term f.a.a. reauthorization in order to benefit their union allies. it's wrong. this type of stuff shouldn't go on. nor should the national mediation board are issuing what really ought to be congressional decisions. mr. president, i wish we were not having this debate. i wish that we could get this f.a.a. reauthorization done. i want to get it done. i don't want anybody furloughed. i don't want anybody not paid. on the other hand, these are important issues. this isn't some ity bitty nonessential issue.
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and i'm not going to yield on this issue. i'm not going to let an out-of-control national mediation board and their patrons in the white house and congress rig the rules so a small majority can jam unionization on unwilling employees. if we allowed that, the nlrb will go wild, the national labor relations board and they've already gone wild in ways, issuing fiats that only the congress can do but will take years to overturn in the courts of law. i suspect we'll be debating this issue for some time and i'm willing to have this debate in the full view of the public. i believe this is an important debate for this industry. but at the very least i expect my colleagues to acknowledge the truth of what has transpired at the national mediation bore. it isn't the house of representatives that has taken a radical position. it is the obama administration and some of my colleagues on the other side who know better or if they don't know mr. better, should know better.
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let me just add a couple of other things. i don't enjoy having to hold up people and furlough people who are otherwise good employees. it isn't us who are holding them up. it's people demanding outrageous changes in the law by people who are never elected to make those changes. we had to fire that whole dog gone nad that national mediation board or at least the democrats on the board who don't seem to care what the law is and the same thing with the national labor relations board. one reason why -- at least one of them and maybe more could not make it through this process and had to be recess appointed. though brilliant, it's because they could care less about what the laws really are and they just want to administer the laws
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and try and change them without proper congressional approval. that's outrageous, it's something my friends on the other side should not allow it because those things could change when this side takes over. it just makes accepts. all those democrat presidents until now have honored that 75-year history of how a vote should be taken in union elections. and because they lose, look, unions win over 60% of their union elections. the system's not unfair. they lose some, sure. but to stack the rules so they can win every time? that's not right, either, and it certainly isn't democratic. and it's wrong for those employees who didn't have the opportunity or didn't vote. and it's wrong. you could have 10 people vote in
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a 100-person union and if six of them vote for it upped their rule, that would change the rules for every -- all 94 of the others. plus the two that were ignored. so much for that. all i can say is i don't want to have any whining from the other side. they're the ones who have stopped these people from being able to do their jobs and they're doing it for the most crass of reasons, and in complete denigration of labor law in the process. now, turning to the matter that is consuming the nation, by like to address the so-called august 2 deadline that we hit next week. in early april of this year, treasury secretary geithner informed congress that treasury might run out of ways to stay at the debt limit and have enough cash to pay its bills around july 8. about a month and a half later on may 16, the treasury secretary updated his guess to
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august 2. this august 2 deadline which the administration has insisted is the date when treasury runs out of sufficient cash to pay bills was estimated back in the middle of may. it is only reasonable to expect that congress would be kept appraised of treasury's cash flow status and estimates. if we indeed face an economic catastrophe on august 2 it is only reasonable to expect warnings from those in government responsible for issuing such updates and monitoring threats to our financial stability. we have a group in government that is charged with that responsibility. it is called the financial stability oversight counsel or fsoc. set up in the dodd-frank financial regulation law. the fsoc is chaired by the treasury secretary and compose he of members like the federal reserve chairman and banking regulation czars. instead the fsoc was told by
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democrats as a body able to spot threats to our financial system and then warn and protect us all. the president, treasury officials, the president's press secretary and others in the administration daily warn of catastrophe, crisis, and the potential for conditions even worse than we saw during the financial crisis. they seem to be channeling dr. peter venkman who faced with another catastrophe, once predicted the disaster of biblical proportions, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. with all these predictions the fsoc has remained silent. that body of unelected bureaucrats either doesn't see a threat to stability or from the ratings downgrade for the united states or is too busy writing a mountain of new regulations to make a warning. mr. president, i cept a letter which eye i'd like to have placed in the record to eight voting members of the fsoc yesterday asking two basic sets
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of questions. i ask unanimous consent that that letter be placed in the record at this point. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: one is whether they see any imminent threat to financial stability from the debt limit impasse or from an impending downgrade to our nation's credit rating. of course we face warnings of downgrades to our credit rating not merely because of the debt limit impasse. we've had dozens of such impasses in recent decades with no effect on our credit rating. yet we do face warnings of a ratings downgrade because of president of the united states obama's accelerations of deficits and debt along our unsustainable fiscal path and unsustainable entitlement programs and premises. with spending up to not seen since world war ii and a lack of willingness by the administration to break its deficit spending addiction, ratings agencies have been brought to the edge and warned of impending downgrades. those downgrades would
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immediately harm job creation, the economy, the cost of credit for every american family and business and indeed, overall financial stability. however, instead of a forthright discussion of this threat, the fsoc chose instead to bury an academic discussion of it in their annual report. let me remind everyone how important democrats said the fsoc would be as an early warning system, protecting us from the imminent threats to stability. it was supposed to be a watchdog. a cop on the beat, combing global financial markets for inbalances and stability threats and then warning everyone, given warning -- giving warning to everyone. ratings agencies, the secretary of state, chairman bernanke, officials from across party lines, all have issued warnings of threats to financial stability from our fiscal crisis yet the fsoc buried whatever
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observation it has about our crisis in its annual report. another set of questions i asked the fsoc involves treasury cash flows through august, and date at which treasury now believes it is most likely to run short of cash. i asked about contingency plans at treasury, the fed and bank regulators have if there is a ratings downgrade. reports of meetings with treasury secretary geithner, fed chairman bern apgy and new york fed president dudley suggest the contingency plans certainly are in the works. yet as the ranking member of the senate finance committee, the administration has provided me with no information on what those plans might be in spite of my responsibility yo for oversight of debt and cash operations at treasury. i wish i could say i was surprised but the fact is the promise of the most open, deliberative and rational administration in history has given way to a highly secretive and partisan operation that
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denies the people of this country the leadership they are owed. perhaps i'm supposed to wait as in the past for news reports on sunday afternoon before the opening of financial markets in asia to find out what we would do if an economic catastrophe in fact unfolds. mr. president, it is an unsatisfactory and unacceptable state of affairs that the american people and members of congress do not have updated and sufficient information about treasury's cash flows and liquid assets or the contingency plans of our financial regulators. it is disturbing to me that in recent days members of congress in both chambers have gone to their respective floors to discuss fresh treasury's cash and liquidity position using information provided by large institutions or nongovernmental think tanks. treasury's reports of financial
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condition have also been relying on these sources. why? why do members of congress not know details about treasury's projected cash flow for august? how can we decide whether august 2, a threshold date estimated by treasury back in may, is even close to some sort of deadline date for dealing with the debt limit? maybe the date is july 29. i don't know. and neither does the administration, nor -- neither the administration nor the fsoc has told us. maybe the date is august 15. i don't know. and neither the administration nor the fsoc has told us. i don't know. the american people don't know. and this is unacceptable. wall street firms have recently put out their own projections and they say august 2 may not be relevant at all. maybe it will be august 8 when treasury runs into a cash flow problem. maybe it will be august 13. does treasury still believe august 2 is the date when cash flow problems are most likely to
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arrive given new information on government receipts since early may? if not, we need to know. and we need to know how that assessment has been made. if so, then why is treasury not telling us and showing us why? my letter to fsoc members which includes the treasury secretary, includes a simple request for updated information about treasury cash flows and liquid assets. i might add that the treasury secretary knows that i've supported him. that i care for him. i don't agree with him but we didn't win the election. president obama did. and i've supported him. and i'm a little shocked that i'm not getting this kind of cooperation. given warnings from the administration that there is special urgency to act on the debt limit by august 2, time is of -- of the essence, so i asked to receive responses from the fsoc members by 5:00 today,
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which is now an hour and a half ago. mr. president, i have received no reply about treasury cash flows and liquid assets. nothing. radio silence. television cameras can't be turned on in this town without capturing some administration official reminding americans about the looming default but they are unable to provide congress which would show when the default would happen, after months of recommending that we should know and after warnings months ago? let me say this again. i asked for and have not received critical information about the state of our nation's short-term finances that i specifically requested from eight voting members of the fsoc, including the secretary of the treasury. i have received no response at all regarding the cash and liquid assets treasury has and expects to have available. but worse than the refusal by the treasury secretary and other
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fsoc members to inform us about our nation's cash position is their refusal to keep the american people duly informed about the state of our finances. it is, quite simply, a shirking of their responsibility to the citizens of this country. and rather than providing transparency, which we were promised, the administration's chosen to scare social security recipients about their benefits in politicized debt limit negotiations we are debating debt and deficit plans that involve trillions of dollars, yet we only have guesses about how much cash the federal government expects to have in august from a nongovernment think tank and from wall street firms. this is unacceptable. mr. president, one of the most troubling aspects of this lack of disclosure is the way that it is affecting our nation's seniors.
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i listened to my constituents in utah and many of them who rely on social security are very worried and they're, frankly, scared. the obama administration's been hard at work frightening them about the prospects of default. more concerned about his election prospects than resolving this crisis, president obama commented recently that he could not guaranteeth that treasury would be able -- guarantee that treasury would be able to make social security payments in early august. really? this fear honoringering -- this fearmongering is shameful, absolutely shameful. for the president to threaten not to send out social security checks is a stain on his presidency. and one that i don't like to see hit. those relying on social security benefits rightfully count on timely payments. they worked hard and paid taxes and timely benefit payments are due to them.
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these payments can and should be assured, no question. why is he using the politics of fear on our seniors? i think we all know the reason. given the information that is available, it appears that roughly $50 billion of social security payments are due during august. recent estimates from outside sources put flows into treasury between $170 billion and over $200 billion in august from various tax receipts and other sources. that alone is more than enough to pay $50 billion in social security payments with cash left over for the $30 billion due on our debt in august and more. perhaps the president's worried about the timing of cash flows in august. yet even if all $50 billion of social security payments come due on august 3 -- and they won't -- treasury can easily get its hands on cash to pay those benefits. according to the daily treasury statement for july 26, treasury
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has $5 billion sitting idle at the federal reserve. treasury can call up that -- well, they can call up the fed right now and get that $5 billion in cash. treasury has roughly $90 billion in mortgage-backed securities that it bought in the financial crisis to bail out the housing markets. it sold $10.6 billion just last month of those. treasury can go out and sell more next week if it is worried about not having cash to pay seniors. it could raise almost $60 billion -- almost $80 billion. there are many more options for treasury to get cash, and if the administration had any concern for seniors, it would have had its officials working hard since at least may, which was one of the early dates they informed us, although there are even earlier dates than that, to ensure that enough cash is available in august. treasury can easily have $50 billion of cash on august 3 to pay our seniors if it wants to do that.
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why, then, did the president choose to strike fear into all of our nation's seniors? why would the president say to our seniors that he could not guarantee that there would be cash available to pay benefits in august when he can absolutely guarantee that there would be cash available? it seems clear that the president has chosen to use fear and to scare seniors in order to boost his chances at reelection and to strengthen the hand of our friends on the other side who are insistent on raising taxes as a means of deficit reduction. and if we raise taxes, i guarantee you -- i have only been here 35 years -- that side will spend every dime of it. it won't be used to pay down the deficit. using social security -- and especially in a presidential couple of years. my goodness. using social security and the financial security of our seniors as bargaining chips in a
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political poker game over the debt ceiling is, to put it bluntly, shameful. and to do so to try to raise taxes at a time when unemployment is 9.2% and trending up, and that doesn't even include the underemployment rate, which is hovering around 17%, which count those who won't even look for jobs anymore and others who won't work. it represents an odd way to express concern about jobs. the only reason that social security payments would not be made in august by the administration would be a conscious choice by the administration to stiff seniors and to blame republicans. it would be a conscious political choice, not a choice forced by the debt limit or lack of cash. well, mr. president, it's time for notice conclude but i want to be clear, the american public has been shortchanged by the new financial stability oversight council that was created by the
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job-killing dodd-frank financial regulation act. one of the worst bills i've seen in all of my 35 years. the fsoc chaired by treasury secretary geithner has refused and ignored my requests for basic information about government finances and government contingency plans in the face of dire warnings of threats to our nation's financial stability. i don't -- i don't enjoy coming on the floor and excoriating this administration and the president and fsoc. i don't think that's ever going to work the way it's -- dodd-frank thought it would. i don't enjoy it. but by gosh, somebody has to do it, because this is not right. it's shameful. the american people deserve transparency. they deserve accountability. yet the administration and its regulators chose instead to withhold information from the people and their elected representatives it congress --
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representatives in congress. the refusal by members of fsoc, including the treasury secreta secretary -- remember, somebody who i actually like. i probably like the members of the fsoc, but their refusal to provide simple, basic information about government finances is unacceptable and requires investigation and action. mr. president, we've got to get it to where this government starts to work again. and even if you like dodd-frank, you ought to be upset that we're not getting basic information to the leaders on the finance committee that would help us to really understand these really trying days more than we do. we shouldn't have to rely on wall street for these figures. we shouldn't have to rely on wall street on what the administration's plan is. we shouldn't have to -- we shouldn't have to rely on anybody except those who are designated to provide this
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information. and unfortunately, they haven't done it. now, i admit, i only gave them a few days, but they've been working on this for months. i don't know about their office, but i'll tell you one thing, we get things done in time. and we're at rug cutting time here on the floor of the united states senate and in the house of representatives. we know that august 2 is a heralded date by this administration, and since they chose the date, i think they should justify what they're going to do and how they're going to do it to make sure if we don't somehow increase the debt ceiling, which i'm not going to do, if we don't somehow do that, we at least know where we're going. mr. president, i hope that the administration would get a little more active on some of these things that are so important to us here on capitol hill, important to democrats as well as republicans. we need to have the facts.
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we need accountability. we need transparency. and i'm calling on the administration to get on the ball. with that, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota is recognized. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i rise today to speak about the urgent need to act on the debt ceiling before the august 2 deadline. while i believe that we have reached a defining moment as a country which should not be wasted, we need to reduce our debt, we also can't afford to play russian roulette with our economy by toying with the debt limit. we've had months to work this out, yet less than six days from a possible default that would plunge this country into a
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serious crisis, here we stand in opposite corners of the boxing ring. the markets are jittering, investors and businesses are deeply concerned, but, most importantly, the people of this country are fed up with this political stalemate. they don't want their interest rates to rise, the value of the dollar to fall, and they don't to want see their retirement savings decimated again because some in washington believe that if they refuse to compromise, the resulting crisis will score them political points. ever since the economic downturn, families across the country have sat down at their kitchen tables to make the tough choices about what they hold most dear and what they can learn to live without. we all know those conversations. they have to end with compromise. a poll released monday by the pew chair ar charitable trust ts
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68% of the lawmakers who share this issue on either side, that they say those lawmakers should actually compromise. so people who actually share a view with a particular lawmaker, 68% of them say that lawmaker should compromise, even if it means striking a deal that they disagree with. just 23% say lawmakers who share their views should stand by their principles even if it leads to default. but my colleagues and i don't need polls to tell us that. we've all had our offices flooded with calls and e-mails of well-meaning constituents with advice, that are mad in the last few days asking us to work it out. just this morning, i received this e-mail from dave and cheryl of northfield, minnesota. this is what it says. "dear amy: the political positioning and wrangling over the federal budget and debt ceiling limit has gone on long enough. it's time for our elected leaders to step up and resolve the debt ceiling and budget crisis in a mature, adult fashion. we realize that this is easier
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said than done, but after experiencing the shutdown of the state of minnesota, it is unconscionable to even have the possibility of the crisis that we will face as a nation if we don't raise our debt ceiling and begin reducing the deficit. we urge you and your colleagues to do all it takes to resolve this issue prior to the deadline. there has to be some compromise that can be identified. each side will need to give to make this happen. let's focus on the art of compromise and get this wrapped up. it's time to show the world that we are still a truly great nation and can step up to resolve the challenges placed before us. the greater good of the nation has to be placed as a top priority. hoping and praying for successful resolution to the outstanding issues." that's dave and cheryl of northfield, minnesota, just citizens who sent an e-mail today. i wish everyone in this chamber and everyone over in the house would listen to this today.
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i think it sums it up very, very well. outside of the halls of congress, there isn't much disagreement over the urgency to act or the consequences of failing to do so. there also isn't a lot of disagreement over the importance of our economy for long-term extension. who seriously believes that dragging this country through this again in five or six months will help our economy get back on track? economists and experts from across the political spectrum have warned a short term approach would likely lead to downgrade of our credit rating which would cost billions dollars more in existing debt and drive up deficit. for families and businesses it would mean a spike in interest rates making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive. i think the most common refrain i hear from the business community in minnesota when we talk about what it will take to spur investment and create jobs in this country is a need for
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certainty, certainty in the tax code, certainty in incentives, certainty in our government's budget. let's provide some certainty. after months of debate, it is clear what sort of plan is needed to garner the support necessary to get us across the finish line. we will all ultimately have to accept things that we don't necessarily agree with. it is time we get serious about advancing a deal that is both fair and achievable. on august 2 the borrowing authority of the united states will be exhausted. no one benefits if we are unable to reach an agreement by this deadline. every day that passes without a deal only increases uncertainty in the markets and puts the brakes on economic activity. failure to bring the national debt under control also threatens america's future. but the danger of a default threatens our economy today. we have two options. we can either set a precedent of holding our debt hostage to political maneuvering, raising the cost of borrowing and
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increasing our deficit all at the same time, or we can show the world we're serious about working together to address our fiscal challenges to reduce the debt. reduce the cost of borrowing and strengthen our financial outlook. i believe the choice is clear, and i believe that a lot of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle know that. the sooner that we can agree on a long-term package, the better for our economy and the better for our country. it is time to put our political differences aside to work on an agenda that strengthens our economy, promotes fiscal responsibility, and increases global competitiveness. because if we refuse to have an honest conversation about this, if we insist on using the debate as a vehicle for rhetoric only, we will not just be doing ourselves a disservice, not just be doing this institution a diss. we will be cheating our children and grandchildren out of knowing the america we grew up in. if we are committed to our country and not to unmoving
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ideologies, we will get this done. last month i received a lesson in what commitment as a public servant means when i attended the funeral of jack murray, the former mayor of international falls, minnesota, right on the canadian border. it's a town where they often test cars to show that they can withstand the cold. but it's a hard-skrab bell thriving town. mayor murray was a decorated marine who served for 14 years as a member of the city council and for 14 more years as mayor. he figuratively and literally wore "i love international falls" on his sleeves. at his funeral -- and he was 89 years when he died -- we heard countless stories of his commitment to his city. the pwraoeft at the funeral -- priest at the funeral told this story: he said every morning,
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including the morning that mayor murray died, he would rise early and walk the streets of international falls. he would wear this orange highway vest to keep him safe at 89 and he would have a cup of coffee and a bag for trash aepbld walk the -- and he would walk the streets of his beloved town collecting trash up until the day he died. he was a public servant until the end. he believed in his town, in his state, and in his country. and that is an example for all of us now. we're all public servants. we must have a commitment to the larger good, to our country and to the people that we represent. none of us want to see our economy crippled. democrats don't want it, republicans don't want it. so what are we waiting for? it's time for congress to step up and show some leadership here. it's time for us to work together to show the american people that washington isn't broken, that instead we're willing to put aside our politics to do what we were
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elected to do, to do what's right for america. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: are we in a quorum call at this time? the presiding officer: we are. mr. reid: i ask that it be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the period of morning business be extended until 8:30 p.m. with senators during that period of time being able to speak for up to ten minutes each and that at 8:30 i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. reid: i would ask the quorum call be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: the reason we're extending morning business, the senate's having trouble passing the bill, i understand, and so we're waiting until action is
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taken. they started at 4:30 and it's taking a lot longer than they anticipated. i understand they have another caucus that they're now engaged in. it's 7:00. that's why i thought at 8:30 we'd have a better idea if they're going to take action tonight. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: i ask consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, may i speak? the presiding officer: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nelson: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we are here awaiting the action of the house of representatives. we don't know whether the house is going to pass the john boehner proposal. but regardless of what they do, we have the solution right underneath our noses. there have been discussions
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today. i've had a number of discussions with our colleagues. i've had a discussion first this morning with my colleague from florida and have had discussions with others. and it seems like to me that the obvious solution, since we are now at the 11th hour and getting close to the 59th minute of the 11th hour, is that you take elements of both the reid proposal, the mcconnell proposal and the boehner proposal. and so i would suggest that our leadership consider, regardless of what happens in the house, because the senate's going to have to act on something to get 60 votes to meet the filibuster
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threshold here in this chamber and then send a package back to the house. and i would suggest that it be this. that we take the reid proposal of the larger amount of spending cuts. senator reid at first said that's $2.7 trillion. maybe it's been by c.b.o. marked down at about $2.2 trillion. but that whatever that larger amount, clearly larger than the boehner proposal, even though some would argue that it's the iraq and afghanistan war winddown savings that you would get, but whatever it is, it is larger than the house proposal and use that as the first cut by
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lifting the debt ceiling. but there would be a sequence of events that would happen after that to avoid what the senate democrats do not want, that the markets and the rating agencies cause the debt instruments, the u.s. treasury bills, to be downgraded, there needs to be certainty for those rating agencies for the united states government debt. and it could be achieved this way. that you have a brac-like committee, that being a committee that would be composed equally of republicans and democrats that would come up with a package that would then come back to each house, no
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amendments, up-or-down vote. but that the fail-safe backup in case that that committee were not able to come to agreement, or in the event that it came back to both houses and one of the houses did not pass it, that you would then have the mcconnell proposal which is that the president would request the increase of the debt and there would be this procedure that senator mcconnell had laid out that there would be a resolution of disapproval if there were such a disapproval, then the president, of course, could veto it. and in order for the president's veto to be overridden, there
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would have to be a two-thirds vote and there would not be a two-thirds vote and, therefore, there is the assurance that you would have the raising of the debt ceiling to get us through this next year and a half. it seems that it's right under our nose. and if the parties will just realize that now is the time that we have to act and we have to find the workable solution that we can get the votes. now, if we can get, with that kind of proposal, 60 votes here in the senate, then it goes down to the house. whether they've passed the boehner proposal or not, at the 11th hour and the 59th minute, recognizing what's at
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stake for the country, then the house of representatives is going to do the right thing and they're going to pass it. mr. president, i'm just a little country boy but it seems to me that sometimes -- sometimes we get so wrapped up in the all the intricate details that the obvious solution is just right there under our nose staring us in the face. and i would respectfully request that the senate consider this. mr. president, i yield the floor and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum,
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terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, we're awaiting action on the house of representatives on their bill. for that reason, i would ask consent that we recess subject to the call of the chair and that i'll make that motion in just a minute. for the information of all senators, i don't expect or anticipate any action here before 9:00 so i doubt we would reconvene before 9:00 p.m. tonight. so now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate stand in recess subject to the call of the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. the
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leader is recognized. mr. reid: i ask that the call. quorum be terminated. officer sphe without objection. rioted reid mr. president, we rioted reid mr. president, we few >> mr. president, we have a few extremist extre republicans. drive our economy off a cliff because they are too radical to compromise. financial experts are begging congress to come that averts a default on financl nation's financial implications. one analyst said yesterday that the need to divert a crisis was a global economic depression and this is the quote, the market is saying we need to deal here. default is starting to seep into the market, close quote. before it won't be long they staysevert before financial marketssubimpto
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republicans taking our economy. wall street had a very bad day yesterday.largely b it's worse in months. largely based on the news that a congress has still not found a that doesn't only affect big wey investment banks are wealthyouny investors.american all arosund the country, ordinay americans,an 401(k)s lost money yesterday.adical their life savings took a hit because a small group of radical republicans who don't represent mov mainstream america have refused to move even one inch towards compromise they should be assigned to thisc or publicans to deny reality. w default will rock our financial system to its our core. many reasonable republicans realize time is running out. they urged their colleagues to compromise. yesterday on the senate floor, john mccain, republican senior senator from arizona andre
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pesident obama's opponent in the last presidential election asked his own party to return tl reality.er it is not fair he said to thend american people to hold out dayg we want to agree to raising the debt called limit.called approach.own and he called the radical republicas approach same ashes down and denying the sky is blue, unfair and bizarro, those are quotes from john mccain. " he further said again quoting this time i listen to the market. it's time to listen to the american people and said down st and seriously negotiate, end ofi quote. he was talking to his fellow pay republicans and in particular to a tea party that doesn't seem tb realize republicans control only one half of the french government. that fraction of the republicann party is holding our economy
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understatement. my counterpart, senato mcconnell also urge to return ra to reason.e cannot quote, we cannot get a perfectuf solution. from my point of view, the so i'm prepared to accept something less than perfect because perfect is not achievable. f closerom quotes from senator mih mcconnell. both sides know that neither noo that does not mean we should not and the nittany.at republicans have drawn the line to ending wasteful tax breaks cr for companies make record profits printed out to protect taxpayerse expense are democratn not to protect senior citizens rely on social security and medicare will not allow benefit. we will not allow them to suffer while republicans protect taxa e breaks, billionaires. the compromise plan will concere both of those priorities. both parties priorities.r not, e
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but the recruit priorities are not, the legislation i have onte the floor protects those priorities. and democratic priorities and republican priorities. unfortunately in a concession to republicans, we did not billioni millionaires and billionaires th contribute.ine has en we would've loved to have done it but the line is then drawn and we followed that. doe but it does protect seniors and w republicans should feel the pain. it avert would also prefer defat crisis will come to put cleveland oshima deficit, twice as much as the boehner plan. cos it house republicans refuse to support the senate compromise.y i'm happy to talk to any of my republican colleagues. i've talked to several of them and i'm happy to continue toliso listen to reasonable suggestions i required t. party republicans.
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legislation, mr. president is the art ofee compromise and they need to learn that.publican a significant number of house republicans that their party would rather see this nationcooperat with default on its financial obligations than cooperate witht democrats. that but that says it all. b it's eehard to comprehend that, but there is then housets fin representatives have said theysa would rather see the nation default on the financial obligation thanth cisooperate. y this kind of thinking is thenmen roundly rejected a americanrters people.comprose, eve really three quarters ofgetsvern americans want congress to compromise, even if neither sid gets everything it wants. the american people know we can rejected by reasonableortune of republicans. i have the good fortune isbefort serving with the great famous american, fred thompson from tennessee who was famous before you m got here. a third tier in the senate admirably and went back to doac.
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that dean. former senator fred thompson, by the way, is a republican who u gop to recognize a good deal when they see it. that's what he said. and i quote, suggest respectfuly suggest you make in your chips, stuck them in your pockets and gothe pr home. the proposal on the table cut the deficit by $2.5 trillion.on. their goal is to to maintenance spending the vardy one. so if their goal is to rein in i spending, thes vardy one, declared victory enemies. republicans should know, this is ke the fred thompson, when you their chips and walk away. american writer albert hubbard said quote, it is easy to get yu everything you want provided you first learn to do without the things you cannot get. abo that's what this is all about. d it's easy to get everything you want provided you first learn to
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do without the things you cannot get. eric hangs either side cannotsit get. accept that and move on. republicans cannot get the short-term band-aid they were brought on in the house today. they will not get one democratic vote in the senate. all 52 numbers wrote to the speaker last night.hand-deliv it was hand delivered to him to tell him why we won't vote for it and we won't vote for it.ore the economy needs more certainty than the speakers proposal woult provide. we must not be back here in sixn been involved in for seven or eight months. we don't need to do do that. th. washington has been locked down with a debt crisis debate.o. the white house isn't doing all. they need to do.his in we're not doing the things weee, need to do. we cannot come back to this in just a fewnd's wha short weeks t that's what would have been. we must not be back here in sixt weeks or six months debating whether to allow our nation to fall into financial obligations
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for republicans right wing doine controlling so much of whatit wu they're doing in the house. it would be easy for republicans to get everythingld be they wanf only they embrace the senate tos compromise plan and a senator mccain said, his americanemains, feelings.y the question remains, will my republican colleagues be wise enough to admit still 5:00 mak ? >> mr. president >> republican leader i recognized. >> mr. president, just a few days the u.s. government will no longer have the ability to borrow money to pay it bills. the situation the president and his advisers said would trigger an economic armageddon.emocratsi so i was shocked last night when 53 senate democrats issued ate t letter saying they intend to has vote against the only piece of legislation that has any chance of preventing all this from happening. t even more shocking ishe the fact
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that democratic leaders and the president himself have endorsed every feature of this legislation except one and thate is the fact that it doesn'tte allow the president to avoid another national debate about spending and debt until afterel. the next presidential election.e every other feature of the house bill was essentially agreed to e earlier except for one. the president wants to avoid having another discussion about deficit and debt before hisis t election. that assurance is the only thing th president and senate democrats are holding out for right now. democrats can try to justify their opposition on the house bill anyway they want to. now. they complain that word about aa stalemate six months from now. times congress and the presiden, had raised the debt limit over the past 25 years.asted 22 of those increases lasted less than a year. president reagan in 1984 signed
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three bills in the course of his this election year that raised the debt ceiling. to this is not unusual. in fact, what is unusual is to at limit increase. that's unusual. that's unprecedented. aault so what's worse, mr. president?n the default now or potential default six months down the folw road? because it does 53 senate democrats follow through on their threat to filibuster the r house though, that's what they'll be doing. w they'll be ensuring default now rather than working with us to prevent it later. why would you want to do that? to make the president'ssiers the reelection campaign a little easier is the answer. othis now it's inconceivable to me that the president would actually follow through on thisi thread. after all, the president's precious possibility is do what's best for the country, not his reelection frien campaign. the same goes for her friends and the other side of the aisleo
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it didn't be able to me theye he would block human bill that could get to the house of representatives and prevent a default right now. on tha inconceivable.n it's inconceivable they would do this for no other reason than te help the president avoid havings another debate before his election about the need for washington to get its fiscal house in order. because that is precisely what we may be headed for this weekend. or guaranteed default for a bill that takes effect or a default the table while giving us another opportunity to addressbt the very deficits and debt because this crisis in the firsd place. senate democrats are playing with fire here and it's hard ton conclude that they are doing it for any other reason thanpoli of politics. the other side of the out aislea this morning to rethinkns their position and join republicans in preventing default.
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>> at the right to underscore what the leader has said.like the bottom line is very simple.s speaker boehner is busy twisting minds right now to try and get his bill passed through the but house, but it is a futile gesture because that will is not going to pass the senate.3 we have made that clear in the letter that 53 of us signed yesterday and nothing has ehne changed. boehner's bill and pass it and pass it is not what is going to happen. s and so, we would urge speaker boehner and all of our republican colleagues to sit down and negotiate.t del throwing a hot potato over two s. that won't pass just delaysas things a day and we are simply four days away from one of the
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worst financial catastropheshes that could face this country, namely for the first time in a 230 year history, a refusal to s pay the debt. and that means that the time for these kinds of political games et over. or speaker boehner is having a rough time getting the posts over there, but my guess is he t will.ak but it won't make a bit ofeit we difference. it will make a darn bit because it's not going to pass this hou house, the senate. it will not pass because the short-term extension risks the same things that no extension in verse, a downgrade from a lackwn of confidence in the market and gridlock. we seem gridlock up to now. t three, four, five, six months from now come to seem gridlock will occur.so our plea we cannot play with this kind of risky fire. so our plea to the speaker is
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of red meat after red meat aftef red meat, piece after piece after piece of red meat to the. right-wing lion in your caucus. start teaming the lion. that is what you have to do wl because otherwise that lion will devour you in devour the economy of our country, the kind of narrow ideological approach that we have seen in the house will an not get us anywhere. er of and the shame of it all is thatd not every member of the house and i don't believe the speaker had that ideology, asserted my e way or no way ideology, the nops compromisee ideology.
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and it's time to break free.m sn it's time to do what's good for the country. a short-term solution will not work. the leader has just needed player that is very nice the house passes this bill, it will let's not waste five, six, seven, eight more hours. fro let's start negotiating something that will save thise w country from potential financial catastrophe now. or with the senator yield for at question? >> i'm happy to yield. >> i think the senator from newn york for his very loose remarks and for his great leadership inr trying to get through this mess that we're in.ooking a they' i say to my friend, a lot of people in the country are looking and thinking this is - some kind of a fo-od fight.d, somehow there's both. everybody is to blame for this here infrom n wa